The number of art work on the subject of sleep in art galleries across the world is astounding. Sleep almost seems like the pet subject of artists throughout history. Paul Delvaux, Sandro Botticelli, Henri Rousseau, Vincent van Gogh, Francisco de Goya and Giorgione are just some of the big names that were fascinated with the mysterious state of sleep.
You can see the recurring sleep theme in the works of artists, such as Picasso and Matisse, who often depicted a sleeping figure in their portraits that showcased dozing women, peasants and nymphs in repose. For others, like Salvador Dalí, it was all about delving deep into the phenomena of sleep; what happens upon falling asleep, or dream, that inspired creativity.
Here are some iconic art work on the theme of sleep-
- Le Sommeil (Sleep) 1937 by Salvador Dali In this Dali recreated the kind of large, soft head and virtually non-existent body that had featured so often in his paintings around 1929. In this case, however, the face is certainly not a self-portrait. Sleep and dreams are par excellence the realm of the unconscious, and consequently of special interest to psych oanalyists and Surrealists. In Le Sommeil Salvador Dali returned to a classic Surrealist motif. Dreams were the essence of freudian theory because of their access into the unconscious, a preoccupational theme for the Surrealists, including Dali.
- Asleep, 1932 by Pablo Picasso The model of this painting, Asleeep, painted in 1932, is Picasso's mistress Marie Therese. She was resting between the two powerful polarized color blocks of red and green, which accentuate the tranquility of Marie Therese while sleeping. Her claw-like features give her an "animalistic primitivism," which is a belief in the simpleness and unsophistication of life. It is a weird combination of beauty and ugliness, another theme that continually fascinated Picasso and was depicted in many of his other paintings. The work is more an impression of the artist's sub-consciousness.
- Bedroom in Arles, 188 by Vincent Van Gogh To Van Gogh this picture was an expression of 'perfect rest', or 'sleep in general'. The bright, cheerful little room has become a field of rapid convergences, sharp angles, and contrasts of high color. His feeling of repose in the painting is so full of movement and an outcome of a kind of cathartic process; by projecting movement into nature, he is relieved of tensions and wins a real peace. In The Bedroom at Arles this movement is sustained by a delightful, inventive play of scattered objects. The painting depicts Van Gogh's bedroom at 2, Place Lamartine in Arles, Bouches-du-Rhône, France, known as the Yellow House. This painting is also the most famous “bedroom” in the history of art.